Jenifer, what have you written? My fourth book, Only Wrong Once, is a psychological suspense story about a bio-terror attack on the United States.
Give us an insight into your main characters. What does he/she do that is so special? Only Wrong Once is told through the point of view of several characters, those perpetrating the attack and those trying to stop it. Seeing the story through different perspectives gives the reader a solid understanding of the motivations driving the story, even when those motivations appear reprehensible.
What drew you to write in these genre?
I read books from every genre, but I’ve always been drawn to mysteries and psychological thrillers. With psychological suspense, I love having the inside scoop when the characters do not, worrying about how they will react, and seeing the decisions they will make. If a story has a dark edge and an unexpected twist that give me chills, all the better!
Would you hire someone else to format, edit, or create artwork for your novel, how would you select them and how much weight do you put on reviews?
If only it was all free. Paying good editors is expensive, or I imagine every author would find and hire the best one in their genre, but it’s probably the best gift an author can give themselves. I had an editor with my first two books because they were released by a publisher. I wrote Only Wrong Once over two years submitting 25 pages per month to my wonderful writing critique group for feedback. When I’d rewritten the entire manuscript at least four times, I exchanged edits/critiques with three other experienced authors. Each one improved the book and some of their feedback resulted in substantial changes to the story line and many deleted chapters. After those critiques, I had MANY beta-readers who helped eliminate all remaining errors as well as provided comments and suggestions. The formatting I do myself. Most of it is easy, but there’s always a few unexpected glitches that take up most of the time and have me pulling my hair out for a bit. The cover is something I do not have the talent or the right tools to create as well as I would like. I used an excellent designer for this cover and I think the design process and the result were well worth it.
As for reviews, well, I might be a little obsessed with getting them because it’s not possible to effectively promote a book without them. Stephen King and the other writing titans probably don’t know or care when he gets a new review now, but for most authors, each new review is opened with excitement and trepidation. Readers bring their own unique experiences and background to every book, so I’ve learned that what one person loves, another might hate. I’ve read books I LOVED, books I couldn’t put down, only to discover when I went to write my glowing review that others did not have the same experience, it was like they had read an entirely different book. So, I don’t put too much weight on reviews, but I do read a few when I am deciding whether to purchase a book.
Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
If you have the budget to hire someone to help you promote, go for it! Otherwise, keep at it, making time for a little bit every week, even doing one small thing every day, if you can. An abundance of information on marketing and promoting books is available on the internet, there are so many resources, courses, and ideas. In my opinion, it is absolutely the most challenging aspect of being an author, but it’s critical. Most promoting is not actually talking about your book, or people will get sick of you pretty fast, but building mutually beneficial relationships and having a media presence so people know you exist.
What do your fans mean to you?
When someone contacts me through my website to interact because they read one of my books, or to say something kind, positive, or encouraging, it really makes my day. I’m so grateful to the people who reach out to me and those who leave comments and reviews. Before I started writing, I had no idea what a difference it makes, but now I get it. I try to leave positive feedback for people, not just authors, wherever I can.